Fear & Hope?  What can I do?

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Fri, Mar 06, 2020

covid-19In a time of fear and concern regarding the personal and business impact of the COVID-19 virus, where do I turn? 

My recommendation is listen only to the experts! 

If I listen to most radio channels or watch David Muir on the evening news, in all respect, I don't know whether I should immediately drive to my Vermont bunker up on the ridge and hunker down with my six months of rations, or merely drive to Home Depot and pick up more antiseptic wipes. 

I actually tried that last night coming back from Boston and not surprisingly found totally bare shelves: zippo. This particular supply situation of wipes, sanitizers and even masks will correct itself shortly.  The situation with the virus, most probably not for a while.  

We're all concerned!  

Sure, I am personally, but I'm much more concerned about my friends, my students and the well being of my customers and their customers.  What I've learned through this process is to listen to the real experts and my most respected source of information during this period of fear and unknowns is the Center for Disease Control! 


I grew up professionally working at Becton Dickinson Medical Systems, a leader then and more so today in medtech and biotech. As a senior department guy, I was involved in the buyout of my division and became its president, and through all of those years I learned about the power and the respect of both the CDC and the FDA.  Different from the political bozos currently on both sides of the aisle in Washington, these agencies are known and highly respected throughout the world for their clinical authority and apolitical, real-world recommendations. 


The time is now to focus on our health and the health of our businesses!

As if we didn't have enough to be already concerned about in 2020:

  • The normal business issues and opportunities we've already mostly planned for
  • The distractions and delays caused by the Washington bozos in both parties
  • Our drive to focus our salespeople to deliver customer value and not just products

sales luck and sales success-2In spite of all of our careful sales planning, what we now have is a major overriding problem that will definitely slow down the buying cycle as a result of a natural caution in spending, a steadily increasing limitation on travel and major interruptions in supply.  Businesses will continue to function of course, but In the world of professional sales, there's simply no room for "hope & luck" that the business outlook will improve in the short term.  More emphatically, I don't want to wait for luck or hope (whatever the heck that means) to kick in to improve anything right now.   


  • I want to listen to the experts !
  • I want to take charge !
  • I want to tactically plan for improvement !
  • I want to execute activities differently right now !

What can you do?  You can take counter immediate measures!

As street-smart sales managers, we know from decades of running companies and managing sales organizations that Q2 sets the pace for the remaining quarters of the year. This is exactly why we had planned our Sales Management Boot Camp on April 9th-right at the perfect time when specific tactical improvements can be implemented to show immediate results. 

We now believe that this boot camp is more important than ever given COVID-19!

  • an intense one day program of highly interactive instruction at the MIT Endicott House
  • a small number of senior managers providing the opportunity for active engagement
  • highly experienced instruction from expert real-life, hands-on sales management
  • follow-up monthly coaching calls with everyone for six months.  
  • an early June afternoon reception to refresh and discuss best practices from Q2.

...all for the low price of $895.  


Sales Boot Camp MITAs part of our Sales Management Consulting, we've been running boot camps for 20 plus years.  Held in partnership at MIT with other leading experts focused on dramatically increasing sales productivity, this intensive one day, highly-engaged camp brings together CEOs, Presidents and Sales Managers from a wide diversity of industries. 

  • -We use our strategy of "Process-Tools-Technology & People".
  • -We dive deep into real-life tactics you can use immediately.
  • -We focus on street-level Activity Playbooks to impact 2020 $$$.
  • -We will provide specific online coaching and sales productivity tools designed to sell during this period of unknowns and reduced travel.

Colleen Honan The primary coaches will be George Simmons and me, and our guest speakers  include senior sales executives from Brainshark and Hubspot, two of the most widely used sales enablement and readiness technology platforms in the business-both perfect productivity solutions for this period of unknowns. Confirmed already is the highly experienced Colleen Honan, a dynamic, down-to-earth, true sales leader from Brainshark. Colleen will take you through the details of "Planning the Plan in a Time of Distress".  

Click here for more details and then just connect directly with me next week for any questions at jack@derbymanagement.com, and I'll set up a call with you right away to talk through logistics. 

Have a great Friday and a safe and healthy weekend!

Jack and Tufts Entrepreneurship Center -1Looking forward to seeing you on April 9th! 

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Head Coach, Derby Management, experts in...
-Sales & Marketing Productivity
-Business and Strategic Planning

Professor, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
-Entrepreneurial Marketing
-The Science of Sales



Tags: sales planning meetings, sales success, value propositions, Sales Hiring & Onboarding, how to write a sales plan, creating trust in sales, 2020 sales plans, writing sales plans, sales readiness